In control of the crumbs

12 February 2020 | Opinion

While commenting on Mexico’s financial implosion in the 1990s, Rudi Dornbusch said: “In economics, things take longer to happen than you think they will, and then they happen faster than you thought they could”.

In the Namibian context, we are indeed in a massive crisis, as job losses crush the hopes of breadwinners, while the depressed economy continuously fails to create jobs for the growing army of unemployed youth.

It was startling that last Friday Swapo claimed it remains in control of the national budget, despite its poorer showing in last year’s general election.

Party spokesperson Hilma Nicanor arrogantly uttered that independent and opposition councillors would not bring about change because it is still Swapo who dictates spending.

She must obviously have been hiding under a rock over the past years, as central government is swimming in billions of dollars of debt and can barely buy office toilet paper. We have become a nation with a begging bowl in hand.

Over the years, we have lamented the appointment of ruling party cadres into critical positions.

Their performance has shown they don’t have the appropriate skills, or the sum total of their approach is satisfying a faction in the ruling party by steering eager noses into the State feeding trough.

Poverty and joblessness are the elephants in the room when it comes to the electoral reverses suffered by the ruling party and its presidential candidate in last year’s election.

Public school basic education remains a mess, while there has been a continued failure to value-add, industrialise and build a skilled workforce.

Ideologically, Swapo – and by implication government – clings to outdated concepts that feast on the spoils of capitalism, and yet has a deep-rooted suspicion of the west.

There seems to be a massive attachment to floundering SOEs that have gobbled up billions in taxpayer monies over the years in bailouts. In the end, this crisis will not be solved by bragging about who controls the remaining government crumbs in Namibia.

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